#GetCareerReady

The Careers Service’s new hashtag is #GetCareerReady. What does this mean? And how can we help you to Get Career Ready?

Explore – what’s right for you and what are the options?

What does a career mean to you? What job is right for you? Before you can answer these questions you need to know what will suit you. The Careers Service guide has some straightforward exercises to complete that will help you think about this. Look at this online or come in and pick up a copy at the Careers Service.

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Exploring is also about understanding what jobs exist out there. Trying to understand the job market can be incredibly hard, there are 1000s of opportunities and unless you have a very clear idea of what you want to do, searching for companies and graduate roles can be daunting. We run regular talks on how to research organisations and industries, plus we have a number of sector guides on our website to get you started.

Develop yourself

Alongside exploring your options you need to be developing your own set of skills, understanding what makes you unique and learning how to manage yourself. Not much then! So how do you do all that?

The main thing you need to do is get involved in activity as part of your degree, as well as away from your studies. It’s important to be active, not passive, do not expect opportunities to come to you. The more you get involved in societies, volunteering, part time work, sports, initiatives within your school, research lectures and work shadowing, the more you will be developing skills and becoming the “all-rounder” that employers look for.

 Jo Hutchings, the Information, Advice and Guidance Manager at the Careers Service says “in my experience the students who come into the Careers Service who have been proactive in getting involved whilst at university, generally have a more mature attitude, a confidence in the way they present themselves and the ability to take feedback and act on it. These are all qualities, that if I notice them in a short 15 minute appointment, an employer is certainly going to see at an interview or assessment centre stage!”

IMG_1837The Bristol PLUS Award is designed to help all students develop skills at university, with opportunities to reflect on your experiences, to gain a better understanding of who you are and your strengths. This enables you to become more self aware, a quality all employers look for.

 

Finally, competing for jobs/further study

So #GetCareerReady is about understanding what jobs are out there and what might suit you. Once you have started to establish this, you need to get applying to compete for opportunities.

And, it is a competition; you need to be prepared to work hard for the opportunities out there. Put time into your applications, research organisations, understand the roles you are applying for and get feedback before your final submission. The Careers Service is well equipped to give you this feedback and advice through our appointments. We also have a wide variety of taIMG_1801lks to help you prepare for the application process. These are complemented by online advice and practical help with our interview simulator on mycareer and practice selection tests.

So if you want to #GetCareerReady, come into the Careers Service to find out how we can help you, as one of our recent users said:

“The Careers Service is fantastic. Professional and comprehensive. I can’t flaw the incredible service”

What happens at a Careers Service Interview Skills event?

What happens at a Careers Service Interview Skills event?

As part of Selection Perfection fortnight we ran a variety of sessions covering the different stages of the selection process.  

One of the most popular sessions was an Interview Skills workshop run by Ed Bootle from True Clarity. This workshop covered the essential preparation for interviews that students should be doing (but are so often overlooked), and looked at how to answer the interview questions you are dreading!

What did the students think of the session?

“As a mature student at Bristol, I have already attended several daunting job and university interviews. However, I am always completely intimidated and overwhelmed at the prospect of another one! Ed Bootle’s interview skills workshop was one of the most practical and honest sessions I have attended at university. Coming directly from the interviewer’s mouth, Ed gave us a real insight into how interviews are designed to work, what the interviewer is expecting from you, and what you can do to make the best impression possible. Too often we take for granted the simple things, such as standing up when shaking hands or ensuring that you have robust questions to ask at the end of your interview. The workshop was candid and easy-going, and I feel as though everybody walked away from it feeling much more confident about themselves and their next big interview.”

Sarah Muston (2nd year BA Anthropology)

Lee gives us an insight into some of the topics that were covered in the session:

“The session was delivered by an experienced interviewer so it was great to get a feel for the interview process from an expert.  I found the section on which questions are good to ask and those that are not so good to ask in an interview interesting.  We did a group activity on how to approach awkward questions, the key thing that I took away from that activity was to be mindful of why certain questions are being asked. I didn’t quite appreciate the importance of a job specification, but as the speaker clearly pointed out – the job specification is a very useful tool to tailor your interview preparation around.  I would highly recommend this session to anyone who wants to learn how to deliver an effective interview.”

Lee Clay (2nd year BSc Childhood Studies with Quantitative Research Methods)

How to get help preparing for interview

Preparation and practice are key! If you would like help with preparing for interviews, please take a look at the interview section on our website, as well as our interview simulator on mycareer which is an online video interviewing module enabling you to practise answering questions and perfecting your technique.  We will be running more interview skills events throughout the rest of the academic year.  You can keep up to date with all our events through mycareer.

 

One final note from us:

“The key to a good interview is preparation and understanding what the interviewer is asking and why.”
Good luck!

Meeting Alumni – a Valuable Step in Career Planning

What do you think people from your degree course are doing 10, 20 even 30 years after they graduated? What questions would you ask former students that graduated from the same course as you? This is an opportunity that students from the Biomedical Sciences Faculty got when they helped set-up the first Biomedical Sciences Alumni Evening.

Definition of Alumni from thefreedictionary.com
Definition of Alumni from thefreedictionary.com

 Last November, alumni from the 1980s to the present day came back to the University to talk to current Biomedical students. They came from a huge range of specialisms: including, postdoctoral researchers, medical consultants, clinical scientists, laboratory managers, accountants, medical demonstrators, academics, medics, and strategy consultants.

Current student chatting to Tony Stanley, PolyCoversDirect Ltd.
Current student chatting to Tony Stanley, PolyCoversDirect Ltd.

Students across the year groups found that talking to alumni was a very useful exercise. As well as being inspired to think about careers they hadn’t yet considered and encouraged to explore a range of opportunities, students also had the chance to pose questions to alumni who have gone on to pursue a range of influential careers. For example, they could ask them about what employers valued most from their degree course; what different industries were like; or what advice they would give their former selves when they were back studying at Bristol. Some of the feedback from students included:

‘[The evening] allowed me to discuss the pros and cons of different job opportunities, mainly academia vs industry. It really helped give me a realistic picture of each. I also learnt a lot about pursuing a PhD, travel and MRes courses, which I hadn’t previously heard about’

 ‘Very good! Helpful advice for PhD applications and opened my mind to other career options too’

‘I was able to ask questions about careers I was interested in and get answers from someone who knows the job well’

Speaking to Alumni is an excellent way to explore career ideas, to get the inside information on different sectors and to ask advice from people who have actually been there!

The alumni who attended the event were

Richard Pither, CEO Cytox Ltd, talking to Biomedical students
Richard Pither, CEO Cytox Ltd, talking to Biomedical students

equally enthusiastic. Bronwen Burton (BSc 2007), Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Immunology, said: ‘The event was a great success. The students seemed enthusiastic and engaged, asking lots of questions during the discussion sessions. Several also approached me during the networking session with further questions. The array of different careers which we, as alumni, represented provided an inspiring illustration of what can be achieved after completing a degree in Biomedical Sciences.’

The evening was requested by students and came from feedback during the Faculty Student Staff Liaison Committee that students wanted more contact with alumni. If this sounds like something you could benefit from it’s worth finding out if you have any alumni events that take place in your school or that are run by your course society.

How can you get in touch with Alumni?

You don’t need large events like this to be able to speak to Bristol Alumni. The Careers Service host the Careers Network – an inspirational community of Alumni who are happy to answer questions over email from current students about their careers, professions or entrepreneurial activities. Search the Careers Network to look for Alumni in specific sectors or from the same course as you!

You can also use LinkedIn to connect with Bristol Alumni. Simply create a strong LinkedIn Profile and ‘Find Alumni’ under the ‘My Network’ tab.

Be sure to read the advice and further suggestions about how to connect with Alumni on the Bristol Careers Service Website.

The Media Careers Conference 2015 – what the students thought

On the 30th and 31st of March, over 90 students gathered in the Arts Complex for the Media Careers Conference. Over the course of the two day event, various media insiders (including Bristol alumni) came to meet students and deliver talks, providing students with an all-important insight into the world of media. Here two students, a fresher and a final year share their experiences of the event.

Emily Faint, First Year

As a fresher, I initially questioned the value of attending a careers conference. My career plans were hazy, and I certainly wasn’t looking to secure graduate placements given that graduation is still a mercifully distant future for me. By the end of the event, however, I was startled by how much the talks allowed me to clarify my thoughts regarding which career paths did, and didn’t, suit me. Each speaker had a wealth of information and advice to share, which included everything from the obvious suggestion of opening a LinkedIn account to dispelling myths about the perceived glamour of media careers.

Alex Ayling, a Bristol graduate who now works at BBC Worldwide, was a particularly notable speaker. He spoke of the importance of humility and resilience for those seeking a media career. I was startled to learn that companies such as the BBC rarely hire full-time staff, instead opting to recruit employees on a short-term basis depending on current projects. Patrick Ayree, a wildlife filmmaker and presenter, was also a delight to listen to. One of the most encouraging messages I received from Ayree was for young people to remember their value; young people are essential to the media and it is important to guard against feeling undervalued because of your inexperience at the beginning of your career.

For someone on the first rung of what I hope will be an interesting and varied career ladder, I’m certain the guidance I received at the conference will continue to benefit me for years to come.

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Emily hard at work at the conference!

 

Niamh Callaghan, Final Year

As a final year English undergraduate, I came to the conference looking for some careers advice and some tips on how to get into the media industry. On the first day, I went to sessions about digital television, copywriting in advertising, multi-platform production, and radio presentation. The networking sessions with previous graduates were really encouraging and gave some great advice. The careers service discussion about using resources (other than Google) to research careers was also useful, particularly as that is what I am currently doing after Graduation!

On the second day I went to two different workshops, one from Cardiff School of Journalism and another from Immediate Media. The journalism discussion encouraged everyone to find how they personally stand out from the crowd – learning technological skills is, apparently, very advantageous. The magazine publishers from Immediate Media spoke about identifying audiences and product pertinence. I also attended a talk from BBC Talent Management about routes into the BBC.  It was interesting to learn about career-specific skills and I was inspired to start learning some more.

One thing that seemed to come up a lot from every speaker was that, in order to work in the media, you should be creating a portfolio: filming videos, writing scripts, and building blogs. The general consensus was to make things!  The whole conference gave me some great advice for me to really begin my careers search. I left a lot more certain about my future career, with a handful of new connections on LinkedIn to get me started!

 

 

Media Careers Conference

Every year the Careers Service puts on an event dedicated to finding out about careers within the media industry.  So if you think you’re the next Jon Snow, Arianna Huffington, or even Don Draper (see Mad Men!) then this is the conference for you. Last year the conference took place at the beginning of Easter and all students could choose two pathways and attend workshops linked to those pathways. These were: JournalismFeatured image Publishing Advertising, marketing and PR Creative industries Broadcast (TV and radio) Film and production The speakers at the conference ranged from recent alumni now working in film production through to the former Director of BBC World Service and Global News. The conference gave students the opportunity to talk with employers and alumni and find out more about different areas of the media industry. Last year speakers included representatives from

  • BBC
  • Dorling Kingsley
  • McCann Erikson
  • Films@59
  • The Sun on Sunday
  • Cardiff School of Journalism
  • Heart FM
  • Immediate Media and many more

What did the participants have to say about the conference? “I went into the Media Conference not knowing much about the Media Industry; I came out knowing more about the ins-and-outs of what a job in media entails. We heard from a wide range of people within the industry, covering journalism, social media and documentaries. They described what it takes to work in the industry, what experience you need, and what to expect from a job in media. This conference helped me understand what I do and don’t want from a career, finding out more about any job you’re considering is definitely worth doing to help point your future in the right direction for you” Madeleine (Current UoB student) How else did the course help the participants?

“I learnt about the processes and differences between jobs and companies”

“Learnt that journalism is something I’d love and learnt what to do and how to get there”

“Realise that post production is something I would really enjoy doing”

“Found a company I am interested in contacting”

“Made contacts and have a clear idea of different career paths available to me”

“Have specific areas in marketing and PR I’m interested in”

“Understand that there isn’t one set way/importance of contacts and networking”

“Eliminated some career paths and became more interested in other areas”

Media Careers Conference 2015 This year’s conference is taking place on Monday 30th & Tuesday 31st March 2015. To book your place, go to the Careers Service website “I found the media conference really helpful, mostly as it let me know that what I was doing was the right thing, and I also got a few pointers on how to get work experience.” Max, UoB Graduate 2014, now working as a Sports Journalist

How to use the Law Fair to get work experience

Original URL: http://nickbaines.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/

I am a postgraduate researcher in an arts subject (not Law!) but last October, at the Careers Service Law Fair, I managed to get a week’s work experience in a mid-sized City firm – the Holy Grail of the would-be lawyer. I got this purely through chatting to the people I met on each stand. As networking and meeting people is a great way to get a foot in the door, especially for law, I thought I’d share a bit on the blog about how I went about it.

Just ask!

I chatted to a few employers at the firm, and got (alongside a lot of free stuff) 2 business cards, and 1 offer of work experience. At the stand of the firm in question, there were a partner, a trainee and an HR person, and I tailored my questions to each of them. After talking to all three for some time, I asked the lady from HR if there was any possibility of a week, or even a day, of shadowing. She’d already offered to take my email address, and suggested I drop her an email with my CV and the practice areas I’d be interested in. She actually emailed me with a reminder before I’d had a chance to get in touch with her, and once I’d sent my CV, she arranged for me to sit in my preferred department for a week in January.

The lesson here is an old one, but it’s true: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you feel a conversation is going well, then why not ask? Some firms, of course, will say no, but you’ve lost nothing, and it’s worth it to get even one yes.

Research, research, research

You’ll probably have heard this already, but research is key to securing legal work experience – even informally. And preparation is vital for law fair success:

  • Before the fair, I made a list of firms I was interested in, why I was interested in them, and what questions I wanted to ask in order to find out more.
  • I also had a think about more general questions I could ask. For example, it’s always good to ask about the structure of a firm’s training contract, as this differs from firm to firm.
  • As I mentioned, I tailored my questions to each person – when talking to a partner, I wouldn’t ask about the structure of the training contract (put that to trainees or HR), but I would ask about practice areas or the firm’s structure.

I met this firm for about 15 minutes and impressed them enough to get a place, and I can only assume this was because of my research. I was enthusiastic and interested, and it showed that I had prepared beforehand.

For more on researching employers, see the Careers Service pages about how we can help with your research. You can come into the Careers Service in person and talk to Information Specialists at our Resources Help Desk, who can help with this.

The Careers Service also runs talks on how to prepare for the Law Careers Fair. You can read our blog post about preparing for Careers Fairs and our blog post with tips for becoming a solicitor or barrister.

Don’t forget to come along to the Law Fair this year: 5 and 6 November at the Wills Memorial Building. See a list of the different firms attending each day on our website.

Lucinda, a previous Careers Service Information Assistant Intern

What are employer events?

Employers are descending to campus and they are looking to recruit you!

If you haven’t engaged with employer events before then there is no better time to start. The vast majority of employer events happen in the autumn term so you do not want to miss out! The recruitment cycle can often take almost one academic year for employers. It begins at the start of the academic year with employers coming to campus and scouting for talent. Many schemes at all levels have closing dates before Christmas. This is not just for graduate jobs, but placements, internships and even sometimes spring insight weeks and open days. You will make yourself stand out on your application by getting inside information directly from the employer. Plus, getting your foot in the door with a scheme in your first or second year can often lead to a graduate position if you perform well.

Because of the volume of employer activity on campus here are some handy definitions of the event types.

Careers Fairs

Recruitment trade show with multiple employers. You might discover companies you didn’t know existed. A good chance to explore different companies and career options and a mix of opportunities from insight days to graduate roles.

Employer Presentations

Offer detailed organisation and recruitment information. The format can range from formal presentations, interactive workshops and case studies. You will gain in depth company knowledge and a good idea if working for them is for you. There is usually a chance to network after the event with the employer and like-minded students.

Promotional Events

Casual events to raise company profile among students. These events are often the large structures placed in central indoor or outdoor locations. There is usually a fun, interactive element to them like a competition or game. Employers will be there to chat informally and promote their basic company values.

Employer-led skills sessions

Generic content workshops based around an employability skill useful to all types of professions. For example; networking, interview skills and commercial awareness. They are led by employers so students can gain a real world perspective from someone who works outside of the University context.

For some top tips for how to prepare for employer events, come to one of the ‘Making the most of Employer Events’ sessions in the Careers Service. Spaces are limited so book through our online events list.

By Maxine Robinson, Graduate Recruitment Officer.